I am a bit of a sucker for trying new things. That makes me sound fun and hip and adventurous, but actually, it’s just me continually testing the waters to add to my Things I’ve Tried Then Forget That Idea, Let’s Try Something Else list. I have my true, forever hobbies (like reading and writing) and then I have my just-for-now hobbies (like my half-complete scrapbook and my mostly-complete knitted scarf).
Meet my latest just-for-now hobby: Bullet Journaling!
I’m a compulsive list-maker by nature, so when I saw this concept pop up in my feed, I was drawn to it immediately. Lists, but creatively-designed lists? Yes please! Bullet Journaling (for those playing along at home) can described as a method of journaling and diarising that takes on the form of bullet points – short, sweet, to the point – in a cute, creative way. Traditionally, it is simple, clean and fun, but truthfully, it can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. Some people use it solely like a diary, some add the use of a daily log (tracking things like food intake, exercise, goals, etc), and some are just so creative my brain melts a little bit.
I was. But I didn’t know where to start. There’s a lot of really good, in-depth articles for those wanting to delve deep into the world of Bullet Journaling, with beautiful penmanship, functional notebooks and all the bells & whistles. I’m not that guy when starting a new hobby. Are you the same? Want to have a crack at bullet journaling, but not sure what to do after agreeing to dive in and give it a go? Then read on, friends, because I have created this top notch list of tips just for you!
MY TOP FIVE TIPS IN BEGINNER’S BULLET JOURNALLING
(or, How to Not Get Completely Intimidated by Super-Fancy Bullet Journals):
One. Buy a nice blank notebook.
Beautiful, clean stationery makes the world go around. Websites have advised me that I should have a “practice journal”, which is wise advice if you really get into BuJo (that’s a real-life term coined by…BuJo-ers?), but truthfully, I love just going straight into it with a smart, tidy notebook.
If you’re more like me, you’ll find that a Moleskine Large Plain Notebook is the perfect size (and basically as smooth as a notebook can get), but I’m currently using a cute, sassy Typo blank buffalo journal which works more than adequately. After some research, I also found that the Leuchtturm1917 is quite popular (and oh so pretty) and so is the Miquelrius Soft Bound Journal (which is pricier, but daaaamn, 300 pages! Be still my heart!). My husband loves Rhodia, a French notebook he uses for a lot of his graphic design work. Paper-wise you want something thick so you can draw and colour without seepage, and size-wise you want something that you’ll find functional so you’ll actually use it. Simple.
One of my smaller Moleskine notebooks…
truthfully, I like notebooks more than I like Bullet Journaling.
Two. Buy a pencil, and a pen. And a ruler.
Don’t get too fancy to start with – I only use these three things for now to test the waters, and it’s all you need to start with. I don’t even have a fancy fine-liner, I legitimately just use a black pen I found in my stationery stash. Don’t start more complicated than you have to. Feel free to do some research when you want to step out a bit more into permanency, colours and are comfortable with what you are doing.
Three. Do a bit of research.
And by research, I mean spend all of your time on Pinterest and Instagram. Unless you are amazingly creative and know how to spin webs of stellar design out of the nooks and crannies of your brain (and to those people, I tip my hat), sifting through the feeds of journaling geniuses tends to be the way I draw my inspiration for journaling.
To send you on your way, my top Instagram accounts I follow for inspiration are below. Remember, these are just my favourites, particularly because I’m a list-o-maniac, but there are other accounts which are more picture-based and have whole other categories of journaling! Also, checking out hashtags such as #bulletjournal, #bulletjournallove, #bulletjournaling #bulletjournalchallenge – feeds provide you with a large variety of ideas to get you started!
Everyday with Emily | Instagram | Etsy | Blog
(the reason I tried BuJo – and the same Emily who also sells the cutest collections of diary stickers ever. We even interviewed her for a feature last year – check it out here!)
Bullet Journal Collection | Instagram
(a super variety of inspirational collection of Bujo from different sources)
Four. Pick things that you actually want to journal.
So you’ve cut it down to three, four, thirty things that look good to you. Where to start? Like any hobby, you want it to apply to you as best as possible. The rule is this: pick something that is of interest to you, and that you know you would have purpose in using. I’m not going to mock up a tally of best sport scores in golf for 2017; I would drop that like a sack of potatoes within a day. But there are ones that catch my eye, like pages for reading goals and house plans. I started with these two, and it keeps me interested enough to keep using them. (Although, I have accidentally dated my book record as 2016… first date error for the year!)
Five. Keep it simple and don’t put pressure on yourself.
It’s always good to have a challenge, but when you’re first starting a new hobby, it’s good to start slow, simple and commit to one thing at a time. Don’t stress about fancy lettering, or if you can draw, or if it’s going to look good or perfect or terrible. Just start small. Once you’ve finished one page, pick another one and start the next one.
If you start one and you don’t like it, stop and start the next one! No one is holding you at gun point or on a time limit. Don’t spend too much time comparing. Your hobby, your work, in Bullet Journaling is a journey and if it’s not enjoyable, don’t do it! Hobbies have the purpose of being fun, relaxing and should benefit you. If you are just getting worked up or doing it because you have to, it will become another chore on your list and you possibly won’t stick it out.
From there, the world is your oyster! There are literally thousands and thousands of ways you can journal and new ideas are being created every day. Once you feel like you have the hang of your journal and you want to progress further, you can look at other fun elements like drawing, lettering, scrapbooking (people have an amazing talent for post-it notes and washi tape!) – or, just stick to the basics if it is what works for you!
I hope these tips have helped you out. As you can see from my simple pictures, I’m still in early learning stages. But I am really enjoying a new way of writing and setting goals, while recording my year to look back on later. Feel free to share any further tips below for us newbies, or link us to your inspiration!